The Vysshaya Liga (Russian: Высшая Лига, Vysshaya Liga, Supreme League) is the second highest professional ice hockey league in Eurasia. Initially the second division of the Soviet League and then of the Russian Superleague, it is now the level below the Continental Hockey League.
No promotion or relegation occurs between the KHL and the Vysshaya Liga as was the case with the RSL and the Soviet League; however, teams from the Vysshaya Liga fulfilling criteria fixed by the KHL may become full KHL member as part of league expansion. Khimik Voskresensk and Barys Astana are two such expansion teams.
The KHL eraEdit
The creation of the KHL brought many changes to the Vysshaya Liga's structure. Parting ways with the usual East and West divisions format, the league found itself divided in 2008 into three divisions, the Central Division joining the usual two. The league now has 24 teams split between the three conferences. These compete to qualify for the playoffs, which ultimately crown a champion, the Bratina Cup winner.
The absence of promotion and relegation with the KHL leads many to believe the Vysshaya is to become a developmental league for the KHL. Already, roster limitations such as a maximum of seven players over the age of 29 per team seem to indicate such a thing. Speculations suggest the league may, like the American Hockey League is for the NHL, become a "farm league", with all of its teams farm teams of one KHL team.
Vysshaya hokkeinaya liga ChampionsEdit
- 2010-2011 -
- Soviet League
- Russian Superleague
- Continental Hockey League
- Pervaya Liga
- List of Vysshaya Liga seasons